" We in this Island have our difficulties to face. Much as I rejoice at the material advantages which our visitors bring us, much as I rejoice at the still greater advantages which I hope they derive from our fresh breezes and beautiful scenery, I cannot close my eyes to the moral evils which are consequent and perhaps inseparable from their presence.
* * * * *
" We want men in every pulpit in this Island who will have the wisdom to see that men bent on pleasure must have every reasonable liberty ; but we want men with the courage also to proclaim that that liberty shall not be allowed to degenerate into license. We want men with the courage to declare that even affection, which seems so infectious in the Isle of Man, must, in public places and on public roads, be kept within due bounds. We want men with the courage, Sunday after Sunday, to urge on our visitors that no young man in this Island shall be made the worse for their example, and no humble home shall be destroyed in its happiness by the ruin of any girl."Vide Speech of Ex-GOVERNOR WALPOLE at Sodor and Man Diocesan Conference Douglas, October, 1893.
PROVERBS, 14-34 ." Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."
Nobody questions the general truth of the text. Be the critic a Christian, an Agnostic, an Atheist, a Pagan, a Heathen, or man of the world but will adroit the factindisputable and beyond all question that righteousness exalts and sin dethrones. History confirms the wise mans wordsand never were they truer than now : "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Into the dim and distant past I shall not travel this morning for proof of the text just quoted, as I have matters of pressing and immediate moment to noticematters relating not to far off continents, or peoples long since passed away, but relating to our Island home and its present day citizens.
A VISIT TO THE PLEASURE RESORTS.
In seeking to give this text a particular and practical exposition I wish to preface my remarks by offering a few words of personal explanation. Since coming to this Island there have been forced upon my attention, and from various quarters, statements concerning the morals of Douglas during the summer season, with special reference to the character of certain places of amusement in the town. Not wishing to conclude hastily or form a partial judgment, I decided, in August last, to learn for myself the facts of the case and see whether or not these things were so. In pursuance of my object I went the round of certain houses of entertainment, and what I shall say this morning will be the result of observation then and of calm reflection since.
WHY I POSTPONED THE SUBJECT.
Some people have asked : Why did I not speak at once on this matter, and have held it strange I should keep so long silent. My answer is plain. First of all I did not wish to discuss this subject during the busy season and when our town was filled with visitors. I thought it better that time should elapse and in this winter season, when face to face with our own people, quietly look into and discuss a matter so vital to the best interests of the Isle of Man.
And in the next place I deferred treating this subject in August because, seeking to be judicial, I did not wish to speak without due reflection. I thought it best that time should be given to collect evidence, collate facts and weigh them well. This, I hold, is a matter too grave and serious to be entered upon hastily, unadvisedly or lightly, but should be considered reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God.
OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE.THE MORALS OF THE DOUGLAS PRESS.
And I may here say by way of parenthesis that I am overwhelmed with evidence as to certain positions which I shall take up this morning and to certain statements I shall make. Most of these facts I can simply indicate, as it would be imprudent to speak them openly to a mixed congregation. Indeed I should hesitate to name them to an audience exclusively of men. And this I have to say whilst holding out no threatthat if interested parties connected with the Local Press question my facts, and instead of argument deal in ribald abuse, I shall feel bound to lay open the whole sore to the public gaze. I shall submit the case to the arbitrament of an enlightened public opinion and I confidently anticipate what the verdict will be. The morals of the Douglas Press may be my next theme. I am unwilling to treat it, and shall decline the task, if only certain proprietors of papers will join us in aiding the cause of righteousness ; but if they declare for Belial, and seek to damn and frustrate honest efforts at reform, then upon their own heads will recoil the fiery indignation and just judgment of pure and honest men, It may be said by some " Why should you concern yourself ? Why meddle in a matter that doesnt concern you ? " In answer to such a question I may perhaps justify my action by saying that I do so out of respect for this lovely Island and its people. My knowledge of the Isle of Man was not born yesterday, I have known it many years. The Island has always had special attractions for me, and strongest words are weak in setting forth its praise. Some of us have seen the charms of Switzerland. the English and Scotch Lake Districts, and wild Wales, but we think there is no holiday retreat more beautiful or health giving than your own dear motherland, this Island of the sea. And I justify my action in speaking on this subject out of regard for the Manx people. When first I visited the Islandeighteen years agoI was charmed with the pure and simple life then lived, and since coming to reside here your characteristics have appealed to my best sentiment. I have been pleased to note your patriotic instincts, your intense love of hearth and home, and the clannish family feeling that obtains here. And when there is evidence this lovely Island is being desecrated, and that its people are being demoralized, the time has come when the Christian Church should raise its voice in protest, and the pulpit speak with no uncertain sound.
Some Manx critic may sayalthough I have not heard it suggested ." Why should you discuss this subject, seeing you are not one of us?" I admit I am not a Manxman, It is not my fault but my misfortune I am not one of yourselves, and could I be naturalized tomorrow I would gladly undergo the operation ! I have a fitness, however, to speak on this subject, being an Englishman, inasmuch as a great part of the evil complained of is due to my fellow-countrymen.
SYNDICATES AND COMPANY PROMOTERS,
This Island has been the happy and profitable hunting ground of company promotersmen whose god was gold, and who for the sake of dividends cared not a rush what moral results attended their schemes. The fault I find with you Manx people is this, that you did not tell these syndicate promoters to go to the devil with their prospectuses. You ought never to have allowed them to have stepped upon your shores, much less given them a welcome, or associated yourselves with them in their machinations of Mammon.
But I claim in the next place a fitness to discuss this subject from the broader standpoint of our common nationality. If I am not a Manxman, and you are not English people proper, we are all Britons, We are governed by one Queen, and we shelter beneath one flag,
GOVERNOR WALPOLE AND THE PULPIT.
I make free to discuss this question from even a broader standpoint still. I am a teacher of morals. I am a minister of the New Testament, I was called to labour in this town by a section of the Catholic Church ; and what, I ask, is a minister of religion for but to treat questions affecting the best interests of the commonwealth, The pulpit should be the forum of ethics.
At the recent Sodor and Man Diocesan Conference, held in Douglas, ex-Governor Walpole used these wordswords of true and weighty import :"We want men in every pulpit in this island who will have the wisdom to see that men bent on pleasure must have every reasonable liberty ; but we want men with the courage also to proclaim that that liberty shall not be allowed to degenerate into license. We want men with the courage to declare that even affection, which seems so infectious in the isle of Man, must, in public places and on public roads, be kept within due bounds. We want men with the courage, Sunday after Sunday, to urge on our visitors that no young man in this Island shall be made the worse for their example, and no humble home shall be destroyed in its happiness by the ruin of any girl." If necessary, those words of our late Governor shall be the justification of this address.
THE PREACHERS BUSINESS.
Certain people have said it is not the business of the pulpit to treat such subjects as these : that it is the preachers business to preach the simple gospel and expound eternal principles. " Simple gospel," indeed ! " Eternal principles," forsooth As if He who spake as never man spake did not include in his evangel reference to current sin, or failed to touch on matters of pressing and immediate moment.
No man was more up to date than Jesus of Nazareth. He did not deal in stale truisms, or fail to emphasize sins of which the people then were guilty. The same thing held good of St Paul ; and, coming down to Wesley, no preacher since the apostles time spoke out as did he concerning the shams and evils of his time. Those goody-goody people who tell us to "preach the gospel and declare eternal principles~ " had better, before judging us, consult again the Sermon on the Mount, and Pauls epistles, and Wesleys sermons. If the pulpits mission is only to talk about Jerusalem and Jericho, and not say anything about England or the Isle of Man ; if we ministers are simply to rhapsodize on the plains of heaven, and not soberly declare ourselves on matters relating to your business and domestic life, or your politics and pleasures, then we had better retire from the ministry altogether, and make room for honest MEN,
THE GOOD TO BE OBTAINED.
I have heard it said theres no good to be gained by ventilating and discussing such a subject as this, They say it will be simply beating the air, and that reform is hopeless. My brothers, we are not warranted, in view of evils and abuses, in drawing such pessimistic conclusions. The gospel of Christ is a gospel of hope, and the Scripture assures us His word shall not return unto Him void. There shall be " beauty for ashes." The time shall comefor " the mouth of the Lord has spoken it "" when all wrongs shall be redressed, when contradictions shall be harmonized, when men shall summer in perpetual brotherhood, and when there shall be moral night no more." And if what I say this morning is honest and of good report, it will surely tell and effect undying good ; for
" Truth is Truth, since Right is Right,
And Truth the end must win
To doubt would be dishonesty,
To falter be to sin."
HUSH OR SPEAK OUT?
I have heard it said I should keep silent on this matter, as what I say might injuriously affect the commercial interests of the Isle of Man. Now, I am the last man in this Island to say a word which might affect detrimentally our Insular trade. Too many of my people are dependent for their bread upon the attractions which this health resort offers, for me to say anything which, in the least way, might affect their material interests. I count too many of them my personal friends, and I am too anxious they should make the best of both worlds to say a word or suggest a hint that might jeopardise their living. The fact is, I have sought to do for Douglas what I have done for other places where it has been my lot to labour, Wherever I have been located I have sought to advanceas far as lay in my powerits commercial prestige ; and I have done the same for the Isle of Man. I question whether there are five men in this Island today who have done more within the last twelve months to advertise Douglas as a visiting place than the speaker. In season and out of season, in the Press and on the platform, I have written and spoken of our Insular beauties, of the health-giving breezes that blow about our coasts and sweep over our lovely hills, One of the reasons I speak on this subject is that your trade is in peril, and the popularity of your Island is endangered. It is in the interests, therefore, of legitimate traders of our shopkeepers, our working men, and lodging-house keepers whose living is imperilled by the presence in our midst of certain evils, and upon which I shall hereafter note. And lastly, some have suggested that by my speaking on this unwelcome topic I shall lay myself open to misrepresentation and misjudgement . Who am I that I should fear criticism ? Upon the stage of life while conscience claps let the world hiss. Let certain gentlemen turn on their electric light and find out what they can amiss in my facts and arguments. Discussion is the umpire of difference, and if my case is of God it will stand, but if not, then let it, deservedly, be consigned to reproach and doom, Unwelcome is the task of reprehension. It is not always pleasant to speak the truth, but " when eternal interests are at stake it is ridiculous to stand on punctillios." And God being my helper I will speak out though there were as many devils in Douglas as there are roof tiles. I would
Go forth among men. not mailed in scorn,
But in the armour of a pure intent.
Great duties are before me and great aims,
And whether crowned, or crownless, when I fall,
It matters not. so that Gods work is done."
AN UNENVIABLE REPUTATION.
I lay this down as a premise : Fair and lovely as is our Island, and Douglas in particular, it has, at the present time, an unenviable notoriety. Is this statement true ? Who says it ; and is the evidence credible or reliable ? When in London, two years ago, and in view of coming here as your minister, several people volunteered the state-merit that Douglas was " fast," and that " life" here during the summer season was questionable, I heard what was said and held my peace, determining to judge for myself. Beautiful was the night we steamed into your harbour from the Welsh coast. I shall never forget the appearance of the bay when approaching it that fine September night. The place looked like fairyland. It was like a leaf torn from the Arabian Nights. Moon and starscalm waters and a spotless sky, holiday seekers and kind friends with cheery welcomesthe bay alive with blazing light, the whole was like a magazine of kindliness and every prospect pleased me. Surely, I thought, the hypercritics have misrepresented this fair retreat, and I set aside their ill -reports. But alas I was soon to experience a rude awakening Born and blessed with ordinary powers of observation I was forced to notice many things that discounted my first impression. Since coming I have carefully studied the life here lived. I have freely mixed with the peoplewith men of all classes, residents and visitorswith those directly and indirectly interested in your national life, and with those having no stake at all I have heard what evidence they had to contribute. I have heard, first of all, what people from the other side of the water had to say. Men and women of all classes and ages : people visiting us from all parts of the mainland, from Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, and Wales. People too of various callingsome of them ministers of religion who looked at things from a religious standpoint ; and others who were hard headed business men, who regarded things from the standpoint of utility and ware controlled by commercial ideas. Some were " men about town." Some were magistrates, doctors, railway managers, and working men.
Then I have heard what people of the Island had to say, and I found there was a general concensus of Opinion upon the subject. And here again the evidence is from a variety of characterrepresentative and authoritative.
GOVERNOR WALPOLE QUOTED,
First of all let ex-Governor Walpole speak, and be it remembered he speaks as no novice, having had nearly twelve years experience in your midst, and possessing, of all men in the Island, reliable information, At the Diocesan Conference, already referred to, he spoke thus:
" We in this Island have our difficulties to face. Much as I rejoice at the material advantages which our visitors bring us, much as I rejoice at the still greater advantages which I hope they derive from our fresh breezes and beautiful scenery, I cannot close my eyes to the moral evils which are consequent and perhaps inseparable from their presence,
" SERVING THE DEVIL IN SUMMER, AND PIOUS IN WINTER."
Said a gentleman to me the other day, and who occupies a high official position in this town : " The fact is, Douglas goes to the devil in summer, and in winter seeks to be pious." Only a few weeks ago, Douglas lost by death one of the kindest-hearted of her citizens. To know him was to love him. Few knew Douglas better than he, and when he heard of my intention to speak on this subject, he wentwith the best intention possibleto one of my friends and suggested he should use his influence to dissuade me carrying out my purpose. Would to God I felt free to respect his wish, for I greatly esteemed him. His admission, however, of the true state of affairs in Douglas is the strongest argument that I should rise above mere sentiment and deliver my soul. For these were his striking words : " God knows Douglas is bad, but theres no hope of improvement in a moral direction. We people in Douglas have got such a stake in these places of resort that we cannot run the risk of being criticised by the English Press." And I could go on quoting (for I have their names and statements by me) what I have heard from the lips of leading members of the Manx Bar, of the Legislature, and men in every way qualified to speak with authority. The summing up of the whole being this: the case is bad, and thatto quote from one in official position" its too black a puddle to stir up."
CAUSE OF ILL-REPUTE.
Having cleared the ground by stating in bald outline the character our town has got, the question arises : What is the cause ? Dispassionately, and with calm reason let us enquire what has contributed to our ill-repute ? Fearlessly and without hesitation I affirm that one of the chief causes of our bad name is the number, the character, and the conduct of certain places of amusement in this town.
Now, in discussing these places of so-called pleasure, I beg to make clear that I have not a word to say against amusement in the abstract. The fact is, genuine amusement is an important factor in the economy of life. It were unjust and ungrateful to conceive that the amusements of life are altogether forbidden by its beneficent author. They serve important purposes and are destined to produce important effects, both upon our happiness and character. " They are the wells of the desert ; the kind resting places in which toil may relax, in which the weary spirit may recover its tone, where the desponding mind may reassume its strength and its hopes." There are amusements that have about them a sanctified interest, and I do hope that it may be many years ere their gilding shall wear away and they shall become dull and fail to beguile your journey with their harmless light. " There never was an innocent and healthful game on lawn, or in the drawing-room, which God did not invent, and if we would only learn to see God in everything where he may be seen, or on which he has stamped his hand, the more would we see Gods graciousness towards us, and he who loved God the most would revel with the most hilarity in the kindly sunshine which Gods love has flung at intervals upon our rugged path below."
It is not, therefore, the use of the innocent amusement of life which is dangerous, but the abuse of them ; it is not when they are occasionally. but when they are constantly pursued ; when the love of amusement degenerates into a passion, and when, from being an occasional indulgence it becomes an habitual desire. " As impurity is evil, so whatever tends to it is evil too. If amusement, however pleasant and apparently innocent, involves a clear breach of moral laws, it must be bad for all men and under all circumstances. Or if, though harmless in itself, immorality has become inseparably connected with it, every good man will avoid and condemn it." So says Dr Dale, who may be accepted as an authority on ethical questions, and who himself is no narrow-minded Puritantist.
Now, how does this relate to dancing, which is the chief attraction of certain places of amusement in Douglas ? Before speaking upon the promiscuous dance I have a few words to say by way of qualification upon the general question of dancing. I am not going to denounce it wholesale. I have never seen my way to do it. I know pure and beautiful English homes where dancing is indulged in that I would not question. And I believe there are people who dance to whom an immodest thought is never suggested, i.e., when engaged in reasonably, and confined to circles of known and trusted character. There is, I imagine, dancing, innocent and healthful, and there is dancing that tends to immorality. Dr Dale has rightly said: " Dancing itself need not be wrong ; and the sweeping moral objections to it which have sometimes been urged from the pulpit are unpardonable insults to thousands of women who are as pure minded as any in the country. There may be some dances which good taste and delicate moral feeling disapprove, but so long as high-minded English ladies find pleasure in the ballroom, no one shall persuade me that the offensive and indiscriminate charges which have been recklessly flung out against dancing have any truth in them. But these charges may be all false and yet there may be very adequate grounds for discouraging balls. It is very pleasant to see a dozen or a score of graceful children, daintily dressed, dancing on a lawn in summer time, or, with the bright red berries and rich green leaves of the holly and the pale-white mistletoe about them, on Twelfth Night. Children were made to dance as birds were made to sing. They sleep sounder for it and wake up all the fresher the next morning. And if young men and women find themselves getting chilly on a snowy winters day, or if their spirits are very exuberant, I cannot see why they may not push the tables aside and ask some one to sit down at the piano and play the Lancers. But for people to leave home deliberately at ten oclock at night, with the intention of dancing for three or four hours, appears to me to be a violation of all the laws and principles which should determine the choice of our pleasures. There is something, too, absolutely grotesque in it. At six oclock in the evening a grown-up woman goes to her dressing-room, spends three or four hours in arraying herself in gorgeous or beautiful raiment, in clouds of lace or shining silk ; at nine or ten, perhaps at eleven, her carriage comes to the door and she is driven off, it may be through hail or snow or rain, to a room which soon becomes intolerably hot ; and there, in the middle of the night, with four or five score, or four or five hundred people, she spends her time in graceful gymnastics. Gymnastics at midnight : Gymnastics in a crowd : Gymnastics in tarleton ! Gymnastics for matrons of five-and-forty, and solemn, serious-looking gentlemen of fifty. But it is not the gymnastics for which the throng assembles. It is for social intercourse. Well, are the conditions and circumstances favourable to social intercourse of a really pleasant and healthy kind ? If we must meet our neighbours, is this a rational way of meeting with them ? If young gentlemen and young ladies must come to know each other, is a ballroom, with its heat and excitement, and flirtation, the most desirable place for bringing them together ? If we were savages still, dancing with each other might probably be the best possible way of spending our time together ; but to say that civilised educated people arc not able to do something better than this, is a grim irony on the last and highest results of our national culture. I have spoken only of balls which are free from obvious moral objection. It is hardly necessary to remind my readers that in all our large commercial and manufacturing towns there are public rooms for dancing, much frequented by assistants in shops, both young men and women, by clerks, by milliners, by girls employed in factories, which have been the moral ruin of thousands."
In the quotation just given from Dr Dale, I am at one. and as I subscribe to his views it will be seen I do not put myself out of court with reasonable and judicially-minded people on this vexed question; and, therefore it is, I invite my hearers, and those who may read my words, to follow me calmly and dispassionately in considering the dance I regard as reprehensible and tending to evil.
First of all, I regard the intemperate dance as reprehensible. When men and women spend the whole night, and night after night, in the mazy whirl. then I say it is evil.
I regard the immodest dance as deserving condemnation. I hold that to throw ones heels higher than the head is a gymnastic movement not exactly the kind to advance the virtue of our sons and daughters.
Then I regard the immodest apparel of certain dancers as an evil which has been the cause of the temporal and eternal damnation of many. It is time that women who make pretence of virtue should protest against fashionable indecency.
And I condemn as questionable the promiscuous dance. We might be silent were the people who dance known to each other, or if comparative strangers were introduced by mutual friends, and were of trusted character and repute. But for men and women to meet together without knowledge of each others character or antecedents and to engage in such close association amid the sensuous sights and sounds which accompany the public dancing saloon, were running a risk to the morals of the parties concerned upon which there can be no second thought whatever. Chrysostom must have had the promiscuous dance in his mind when be said : " Where there is dancing there the devil is." Augustine must have had the same thought when he said: " Dancing is a circle whose centre is the devil blowing up the fire of lust in the hearts both of the actors and spectators." " And as to all public dancings," said Wesley, " the tendency is to evil, unless the same caution obtain among modern Christians which was observed among the ancient Heathens. With them, men and women never danced together, but always in separate rooms. This was always observed in Ancient Greece, and for several ages at Rome, where a woman dancing in company with men would have at once been set down for a prostitute."
DRINK AND DANCING.
And when drinking is associated with dancing, there is gravest moral peril. Everybody knows the heated excitement obtaining at these public dancing saloons. Someone has defined dancing as " hugging set to music," and when associated with strong drink need we wonder that so many dancers loose their virtue. The gravamnen of my unpeachmnent is this : the promiscuous dance, as catered for during the summer season in Douglas, tends to evil. To speak plainly, the public dancing saloon is an adjunct of immorality, it is a trap for the innocent and thoughtless, it is a public mart for prostitution.
FACTS, GRIM AND UNANSWERABLE.
Would to God that what I have said were false or but the fancy of my brain. But facts, grim and unanswerable, support my words. Facts go to prove they are the causes of ruin andto say the leastof gravest moral peril to many who come hither for innocent recreation.
MRS BRAMWELL BOOTH'S TESTIMONY.
On Friday last, I received the following letter from Mrs Bramwell Booth, chief of the International Rescue Head Quarters of the Salvation Army, and no one speaks with greater authority than she on this subject :
" London, 23rd November, 1893,
" I quite sympathise with you in your effort to expose the evil of the dancing saloons. There is not the slightest doubt that hundreds of young men and women who attend them take their first step on the downward road of excitement and profligacy, and several of those whom we have received into the Rescue Homes trace their downfall to the time when they began to dance in just such places as you describe.
"The case of one young woman comes to my mind as I write. She had been very respectably brought up, and had a comfortable situation, but was induced to join some companions who frequented a dancing saloon in the neighbourhood, and in order to do so she left her mistresss house secretly through an open window after the family had retired, returning in the same way. She continued in this life of deception for some little time, until her moral strength was broken down, and she became an easy prey to a designing young man, who ruined her and cast her aside. She became addicted to drink and sunk lower and lower until when, by the mercy of God, she was taken hold of and brought to our Rescue Home. No one could have recognised in the forlorn lost woman the respectable and fortunate girl of years gone by.
" I trust that you will be able on Sunday next to sound such a loud trumpet of warning that many may be checked and saved before entering on any such downward career."
A MANX MAGDALENE DOUGLAS IN DANGER!
And these dancing saloons are causes also of the demoralization of our own people, the lowering of our own standard of morality, and the fatal means by which our own children suffer irretrievable harm. Not long ago there might have been seen on board one of our steam-packets an old man bowed down with grief. His heart was well-nigh broken, and tears rolled down his cheeks. One of my people, with beautiful sympathy, enquired his sorrow, and his trouble was this. His darling daughtera fair child of Monas Islehad been invited by visitors to attend one of our places of amusement, and was induced to join the dance. The innocent girl consented. Again she was pressed to go, until pressure was no longer needed, for she became enamoured of the life, with this resultshe fell, and, sad to relate, having lost the jewel of self-respect and virture, had fled to London to live the life of a poor unfortunate upon its stony streets. Thus are Magdalenes made ; and were this even an isolated case it would suffice to justify our raising a voice as loud as the thunder and expressive as the lightning flash against anything that tends to demoralize the flower of our national life. Is there a heart so dead as not to appreciate the moral argument based upon facts like these ? Is it not plain to every right-minded personand which I have heard expressed on all sides in Douglasthat this drinking and dancing saloon policy is having a damaging and deteriorating effect upon Manx morals. Believe me, this evil is coming home to roost. Like the boomerang, it is returning to us with fatal effect. Your own people, who have hitherto borne a character for simplicity and purity are being led away and contaminated by these houses of temptation, and unless you rise to repel the evil, a judgment may befall you like that of guilty Sodom. Yes, this is one of the results of these houses of questionable pleasure : a damaging effect upon the peoples morals. The atmosphere of the dancing saloon is altogether sensual, and we need not be surprised if people who frequent them hold loose ideas as to virtue or morality, It is matter of common notoriety that nowhere in England. Ireland, Scotland, or Wales are acts of questionable conduct more flagrant than in Douglas during the season. I cannot give details on this matter, as it would shock the public sense of decency, but what I say is true and cannot be questioned. What follows, then, from this drink and dancing-saloon policy, but that Douglas one of the choicest holiday retreats in the world is in danger of losing its prestige and popularity. Do you think that people having respect for character, and especially for the morals of their children, will come for recreation where they will have obtruded upon them a life so questionable as that I have but faintly indicated ? Time was when it was very different. Time was when people flocked hither of known repute. They were drawn to the Island by its own intrinsic charms and health-giving properties, and not by attractions in keeping with a London Alhambra or an Oxford music hall. The pleasure-loving and immoral have been attracted, and the virtuous and orderly have been disgusted and turned away. And what is the natural sequence of this, but that its effect upon legitimate trade and commerce has been injurious. Time was when you had a class of visitors that paid you well. They brought over their families and stayed for weeks together. They were respectable and well-to-do. They were a paying quantity. They spent their money freely, and there is not a shopkeeper from the top to the bottom of Victoria-street but will confirm what I say. And what have you got in their place ? You have got the rowdy tripper, and the " man about town," and the demimonde, to whom the dancing saloon and the drinking bar are chief attractions. They come hither only for revel. And how do they affect you commercially ? A tradesman in this town will supply the answer. " Ten years ago," said he, " I sold in six weeks, £50 worth of goods of a certain class that I dont sell £5 worth now. " Goods they were which visitors of respectability and position bought as presents for their friends, but which were not marketable articles with these dancing saloon trippers. I make free to say that such like places have done Douglas, commercially, an incalculable amount of harm, and are destined to work even greater damage unless something is done to stop it. Facts go to prove two things : First, that you are having a poorer class of visitors than formerly ; and next, that of late years
THE NUMBER OF VISITORS HAS DECLINED.
In 1888 there were 277,000 visitors. In 1890 and 1892, 269,000 ; in 1891, 267000 ; and this last year, 263,000. Facts like these should be carefully pondered, and if it is found this is due to loss of prestige and popularity, you must enquire into the cause, and in Gods name seek to redress it. Respectfully and faithfully I have suggested a cause, and I invite you to think and act upon it. It may not be the exclusive cause, but a cause I firmly and sincerely believe it is. And I invite you to look at it with a view of effecting reform.
I may be asked what have I to suggest ? Speaking to my own peoplefor whom I am anxious they should advance in all true piety and righteousness I bid them not to countenance places of amusement when conducted with baneful results. If you attend them, you do so at great risk, and for the sake of our children and young men and maidens I pray you give them a wide berth. And if my youthful hearers will heed my word I earnestly implore them to avoid these places as perilous to their best interests. And to those having commercial interest in them my advice is sell out, and leave to others to control what, at best, is questionable. If you profess to be Christians, have a care that our hands are clean, and that the money you make is free of stains. Listen, you men of business, and let this Scripture guide and warn you in all your trafficking : " The generation the upright shall be blessed, wealth and riches shall be in his house.""They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the LOVE of money is the root of all evil : which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
AN APPEAL TO THE NEW GOVERNOR, COUNCIL, KEYS, BISHOP STRATON, CLERGY, AND PRESS.
I make free to express the hope that having but touched the fringe of certain evils, the remarks offered will receive calm and dispassionate treatment. I invite his Excellency, the newly appointed Governor, to make this question his first and special study. A Governors power in this " Land of Home Rule" is almost omnipotent, and did he but express himself energetically in the administration of law, we might see a moral transformation in Douglas in less than twelve months, and the town regain its former prestige and good name.
I invite the Keys and Council to consider this matter, and instead of dismissing attempted legislation with badinage and sneers, let them use their wit to shape laws which shall make it easy to do good and difficult to do wrong.
I invite Bishop Straton and his clergy, and all ministers of religion, to use their best powers and influence in a direction so Christly, and one affecting the peoples best interests.
I invite the Press to take the side of wisdom and morality, and seek to educate public opinion in favour of principles and practices which men of honour will delight in and respect.
And to one and all within the reach of my voice this morning, or who shall hereafter read my words, I appeal to you, and them, to dismiss everything like false sentiment or personal interestbut considering the matter I have raised-dispassionately, and in the fear of God, address yourselves to the work of reform and seek to make our Island home
" First flower of the earth and first gem of the sea."